CROP*4260 Crop Science Field Trip

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The following description is for the course offering in Fall 2018 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course.
 

This field study course is designed to increase the student's knowledge of agricultural production, agricultural policy and agri-business. Students will tour the midwestern United States just prior to the start of the fall semester, visiting cash crop, horticultural and livestock farms, and supporting industries such as processing, manufacturing, elevators and stockyards. A student fee will be assessed to cover transportation and lodging.

Pre-Requisite(s): 12.50 credits including AGR*2470

Restriction(s): A cumulative average of 65%. Instructor consent required.

Over a two week period, students will travel by bus through the American Midwest as far west as Denver Colorado and as far south as the boot heel of Missouri.  During this time, students will have the opportunity to visit and talk with innovative people involved in agribusiness, crop and livestock production. Students will see crops and livestock that are common to Ontario as well as rice, cotton and aquaculture. During the trip students will gain an appreciation for the breadth of American agriculture.  In addition, students will visit the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago, view river grain transportation systems and learn about the influence of the American Farm Bill in setting world prices.

Instructors:

Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:

0.50

Course Level:

  • Undergraduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture

Campus:

Guelph

Semester Offering:

  • Fall

Class Schedule and Location:

The field trip takes place over a two week period, departing at the end of August and returning to the University at the begginging of September.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Synthesize current knowledge, published in peer reviewed journals, and draw out the implications for agronomic, social, environmental and economic themes in an essay format (Literacy)

  2. Understand the political, cultural, biological and environmental forces that shape the agricultural production systems of the United States and the implication of these variables on global trade (Global Understanding)

  3. Understand the breadth and depth of the variables that shape global agricultural production (Global Understanding)

  4. Learn independently through observation and discussion (Independence of Thought)

Lecture Content:

This course is structured as a field tour.  There are no formal lecture periods during the semester.  Throughout the field trip students will be provided with an opportunity to learn about primary plant and animal agriculture of the United States.  Issues to be covered will include: primary production, agro-ecosystem sustainability, agri-business and the politics of American agriculture. Students will be encouraged to explore themes and issues that are relevant to each of the stops on the tour.  During the tour, students will be responsible for a daily journal.  Student monitors will be assigned daily with specific responsibilities as outlined below. Upon return to the Guelph campus, all students will complete their daily journals for submission to the instructor and will then be assigned the final exam questions to be completed in an essay format.

Labs & Seminars:

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test
Contribution to Final Grade
 

Daily Journals

35%

 

Monitor responsibilities

15%

 

Field Trip Participation

10%

 

Final Exam

40%

 

Daily JournalsAll students are expected to take detailed notes at each farm visit.  These notes will then be used to develop a well written daily journal (1 to 2 pages in length, single spaced) which will be electronically submitted to Professor C. Swanton as outlined above. 

The daily journal should consist of a minimum of 3 sections: 

  1. Theme(s) for the day – explain why the theme(s) is/are important.
  2. Identify and explain 3 key learning points that you felt highlighted the day for you.
  3. Assessment of the visit – provide your comments on the value of each farm visit. 

Monitor Responsibilities:

  1. preparation of questions and issues for each visit
  2. blog (15%)
  3. daily logistics - loading and unloading the bus, student count etc.

Blog:  The blog is the responsibility of the monitors assigned for the specific day.  On the day that you are responsible for a blog you are not required to complete a daily journal for that day as well.  Using the questions, answers and issues discussed at each farm visit the monitors are to work as a team to produce a well written, detailed press release that will be posted on our Mid-West web page.  The blog should include photos of interest that will help to highlight the key points within the press release. The blog will be marked based on readability, insight and information content.

Field Trip Participation:  The participation mark is an assessment of your constructive contributions to the success of the course.  Contributions are defined as your effort to:  engage actively at each farm visit i.e. note taking, asking questions, your contributions to team work and student safety, and your  adherence to the course code of conduct.

Final examination:

Once the field trip is completed, all undergraduate students will receive a take home exam consisting of 6 questions.  Using your daily journals and with references from the peer reviewed social and scientific literature students are required to answer 4 of the 6 questions.  Each question is to be answered in essay format including proper citing of 6 to 8 referenced articles from the published literature.  Do not reference web pages.  Your answers should be in the range of 800 to 1200 words, not including references.  This assignment is to be completed by 5:00 p.m. on Friday October 12th and e-mailed to cswanton@uoguelph.ca

Course Resources:

Required Texts:

Not applicable.

Recommended Texts:

Not applicable.

Lab Manual:

Not applicable.

Other Resources:

Answers to the course assigned questions can be found using various available search engines for peer reviewed articles.

Field Trips:

Not Applicable.

Additional Costs:

The fee for this course is $1000. This cost covers only bus transportation and lodging.  Students are responsible for any additional costs including meals.

Course Policies:

Grading Policies: 

All course assignments are due on the specified date.  Assignments submitted up to 7 days after the due date will be downgraded by 10%.  Assignments submitted after this period will be downgraded by 20%.

Course Policy on Group Work:

Certain course assignments such as the monitor responsibilities will be conducted as a group project.   All students within the group will receive the same grade. 

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor.  When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons, please advise the course instructor in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. See the academic calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration:

Academic Misconduct

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University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. Please note: Whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor.

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the University Calenders:

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For more information, contact CSD at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or email sas@uoguelph.ca or visit the Student Accessibility Services website: http://www.uoguelph.ca/csd/.

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